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Handbook for professionals assisting victims of trafficking

The Handbook tackles the legal framework of protecting and supporting victims of trafficking, the process of secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system, the role of psychologists and social workers in the criminal process and the multidisciplinary work in processing trafficking cases.

The Handbook comprises four substantive parts, each addressing different aspects of the assistance required by victims of trafficking. These include: 1) EU and national legislative framework; 2) avoiding secondary victimisation during judicial proceedings; 3) the role of psychologists and social workers during judicial proceedings; and 4) the need for a multi-disciplinary team for providing adequate victim support.

It was prepared for legal, social and health professionals involved in the protection of the rights and in the assistance of victims of human trafficking. The handbook was created by a transnational team of experts, including representatives of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

It outlines a Model of Standard Operating Procedures to be performed by a multi-disciplinary team. The Model is summarised below:

1. Detection and Identification

Measure 1: Initial referral

Measure 2: Access to basic needs and information

Measure 3: Early risk assessment

Measure 4: Language interpretation and cultural mediation

Measure 5: Recovery and reflection period

2. First Assistance and Protection

Measure 1: Information on assistance options, legal options and conditions

Measure 2: Intake, needs assessment for assistance provision and protection

3. Longer-Term Assistance and Social Inclusion: Comprehensive Care

Measure 1: Joint development of the individual assistance plan

Measure 2: Consent procedures to implement the individual assistance plan

Measure 3: Adjustment and social inclusion

Measure 4: Legal support and assistance

4. Return in the Origin Country

Measure 1: Informed decision to return and risk management plan

Measure 2: Implementation of the risk management plan

5. Judicial Proceedings and Compensation

Measure 1: Evidence gathering

Measure 2: Preparing the victim-witness before the trial

Measure 3: Victim-witness support during the trial

Measure 4: Victim-witness support after the trial

Measure 5: Support for compensation claims

6. Periodic and Final Monitoring and Evaluation

Note: The Handbook has been developed with financial support Justice Programme of the European Union. 


Silvia Antoaneta Berbec, Elena Lazar, Gabriela Ionescu, Anda Teodora Dragan, Ana Maria Zamfir, Iulia Nimescu, Ilse Van der Straeten, Christine Vaillant, Klaus Vanhoutte, Miriana Ilcheva, Dimitar Markov, Nerea García, Clara Fova, María Díez, Natalia de la Rubia, Carmen Romero, Ana Sánchez, Ruth Nordström, Patricia Feito, Björn Ogéus (contributor), Karin Nilsson (contributor), Elisabeth Samuelsson (contributor), Ninna Mörner (contributor), Josephine Appelqvist (contributor), Diana Videva (contributor) – Centre for the Study of Democracy